The inaugural Run for Coach Nic 5K held March 9 at Sussex Tech attracted 124 runners followed by a host of walkers and a bunch of volunteers. There was not a person on site who did not have a genuine love for cantankerous yet caring track and cross country coach Lou Nicoletti, who spent the hours before practices teaching social studies where he was twice a Teacher of the Year.
Nicoletti was diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago that required surgery. It was followed by major complications.
Coach Nic is a client/patient/resident at Harbor Healthcare, but Dave Ritter, whose daughter Emily ran for Nic, told Tim Bamforth, “I’m springing Coach Nic and bringing him to the race. Leave a space for my truck near the finish line.”
Nicoletti sat shotgun by an open window wearing sunglasses and a new Sussex Tech ball cap. Former runners came by the truck like Nicoletti had posted office hours. Runners from the 1988 state championship from Delcastle team were there. Black men in their mid-50s from those Cougars teams travelled downstate to be with their coach and run the race in support of a scholarship in Nic’s name.
Nicoletti told Bamforth, who coached with Nic when his sons Jake and Ben ran at Tech, “You should wait until after I’m dead to do this. You’ll get more people.”
A perfect storyline saw former Sussex Tech runners coached by Nicoletti win overall titles. Sam Hete placed first in 17:03, while Bethany Killmon was first female, finishing in 22:22.
Bruce Leshine was male masters winner in 23:15, while Kathy Kay won the female masters in 25:05.
A complete list of expanded race results can be found at seashorestriders.com.